What can be done for a baby with colic?
Whenever a baby cries more than usual, whether due to colic or any other cause, it is important that your doctor diagnoses what is wrong with your baby. The doctor must thoroughly examine your baby to rule out treatable causes of unexplained crying such as infections (viral or bacterial), gastro-intestinal dysfunction, an anal fissure (i.e. a slight tear of the anus), reflux, allergies or whether your baby is lactose intolerant etc.
The doctor may need to assess your baby’s diet, bowel movements, urination or sleeping habits. Once the above have been ruled out, and your baby has been diagnosed as having infantile colic, there are a number of measures that you may take to help ease his discomfort (i.e. his colic). These options are a matter of trial and error, and what works for one baby may not work for another.
• Wind the baby to help release a build up of gas in the intestines.
• To help winding, place a warm water bottle on your lap. Cover it with a thick towel and lie your baby across your lap on his tummy; gently rub his back.
• Winding can also be done by gently rocking baby in your arms. Another popular method is to keep your baby as upright as possible (a baby carrier works well, or carrying baby on your back) – the vertical position and gentle bouncing movements automatically burp baby and the closeness and motion are soothing.
• If winding does not work, the baby’s abdomen can be gently massaged to release gas. This is best done in small circular movements ten minutes after winding.
• Reduce the stimulation in your baby’s room, such as bright lights, noise and unnecessary activity. What may be helpful however, is calming background music which has proven to help reduce crying.
• Taking your baby out for a walk or a drive is a popular method.
• Some people recommend the services of a chiropractor. Use one who is renowned for working with babies.
• Homeopathic remedies such as Mag Phos and Chamomilla/Millefolium drops may help reduce the spasms and cramps.
• Try using a dummy/pacifier.
• Ask your doctor or pharmacist to prescribe or recommend an over the counter remedy.
• Breastfeeding moms should eliminate foods that are passed on to their baby via their breast milk that may cause colic. It is suggested that such foods include stimulants such as caffeine, as well as chocolate, nuts and dairy products.
• Look after yourself. Remember that your own stress level will affect your baby. Parents of colicky babies are usually exhausted and at their wits end. Don’t try to cope alone. An exhausted, frantic parent is likely to compound the problem. Parents of an incessantly crying infant see the crying as an indictment of their own care giving ability and often feel that it is their fault and that they are bad parents. Get support from family and friends that you can trust and let them baby sit for you.